Li Na won the first set 6-3 in the Australian Open final on Saturday, capturing the decisive break at 3-3 as Kim Clijsters failed to take her chances on a warm evening at Rod Laver Arena.
Third seed Clijsters blasted an ace on the first point, then broke Li to love to charge to a 2-0 lead, sealing the break with a down-the-line forehand passing shot that clipped the net before bouncing out of the Chinese player's reach.
The nervous starter Li won her first point after losing the first eight and sparked into life, attacking Clijsters's serve with abandon and taking the break back after the Belgian slapped a backhand wide.
Li saved two break points at 3-2 down and punished Clijsters in the next game, chasing down a weak volley by her opponent to earn two break points and then pressuring the Belgian into netting a backhand to take a 4-3 lead.
Clijsters blew another breakpoint and belted a forehand wide to allow Li to hold serve and the Chinese pressed the advantage to bring up two set points with a searing forehand.
Li sealed the second set point with an imperious crosscourt forehand that passed Clijsters at the net.